Fall Salad with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Granola on a salad sounds weird, but trust me it is delicious! The first granola-topped salad I ever tasted was amazingly delicious, made with pine nuts from the BlueFire Bar and Grill. With just one bite it fueled my curiosity to create my own nutty sweet salad topping. My version, Pecan Sorghum Granola, features seasonal pecans and whole grain oats that are lightly sweetened with sorghum, adding the perfect crunch to this fall salad with earthy, tender-roasted beets and mildly sweet acorn squash.

A simple vinaigrette is all you need for this flavorful salad bursting with color and nutrients. For some extra protein, top with grilled chicken or shrimp. Save cook time by using leftover roasted squash and beets from last night’s dinner and granola from breakfast for a salad you can throw together in about two minutes.

Salad Ingredients:
1 bunch beets, scrubbed
1 acorn squash or butternut squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 bunch or 6 ounce bag spinach
¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola
4 ounces goat cheese

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the skin on the beets and wrap each in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 35 to 55 minutes, depending on their size. Remove beets and set aside until cool enough to touch. With a small pairing knife, gently remove skin from the beets and chop into cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, peel squash and slice in half. Discard seeds and chop into cubes. Place on a baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a mason jar. Tightly secure the lid and shake until well combined.
  4. Create a bed of spinach on four plates and top with an equal amount of roasted beets and squash. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on each salad and sprinkle with my crunchy granola and a drizzle of vinaigrette.

Servings: 4

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BURGERS

Butternut squash adds a touch of sweetness to this vegetarian burger as it compliments the nutty chickpeas, toasted walnuts, fried sage leaves and blue cheese. This hearty burger pairs well with homemade french fries or a simple side salad.

Veggie burgers are so easy to make and these homemade patties taste a million times better than any of the frozen varieties. If you have never had a homemade vegetarian burger, you are in for a treat. And speaking of frozen patties, leftovers freeze well for a quick meal down the road.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon butter
7 fresh sage leaves
1 (15.5 ounces) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup walnuts, toasted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Spring mix lettuce, for serving
8 whole wheat buns

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat before arranging squash in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, combine the squash, chickpeas, egg, garlic, oats, walnuts, salt and pepper. Crumble the fried sage leaves into the mixture. Pulse until thoroughly combined, and form into 8 patties.
  4. Spray a nonstick skillet, grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Top with an equal amount of cheese crumbles after you flip the burger, this will allow time for just enough melting to keep the cheese in place.
  5. While butternut squash burgers cook, whisk together mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar. Set balsamic mayo aside until ready to serve.
  6. Serve butternut squash burgers on whole wheat buns spread with balsamic mayo and topped with desired amount of spring mix lettuce.

Serves: 8

Black Bean Hummus Vegetable Wrap

Beans and butternut squash are two of my favorite combinations, and they are bundled up in a whole wheat tortilla along with caramelized onions in my ultimate, comfort-food wrap. Enjoy for a hearty lunch or dinner. Creamy black bean hummus adds lean protein to this vegetarian wrap and also helps hold it all together. My Black Bean Hummus recipe, which you can whip up in less than five minutes, is perfect for this dish. If you want to give new life to your leftovers for a different meal the next day, serve the squash and onions on top of a salad and enjoy the hummus as a side dish with tortilla or pita chips.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squashed, peeled, seeded and cubed
1½ tablespoon olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
4 whole wheat tortillas
Black Bean Hummus
2 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a half baking sheet, place butternut squash and drizzle with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Arrange squash in a single layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Once butter has melted, add onion slices and sprinkle with sugar. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook about 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and golden brown.
Spread a fourth of the black bean hummus on each tortilla and top with a fourth of the butternut squash and caramelized onions. Add ½ cup spinach to each tortilla, wrap tightly to secure vegetables and serve.

Servings: 4

Fall Harvest Pancakes

Start your Thanksgiving morning off with these scrumptious Fall Harvest Pancakes made with pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice. Whether you are refueling after running a turkey trot race or kicking back and watching the Macy’s parade, this breakfast dish will satisfy your morning appetite and give you a new appreciation for fall squash. If you are eating light to save room for all the carbs to come, extra pancakes will freeze well for a quick reheat another day.

I am thankful for my blog readers today and every day. I hope you all have hearts full of gratitude and plates full of delicious food. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups milk
1½ cups pureed butternut squash
1 tablespoon sorghum
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for greasing the griddle or skillet

Optional Toppings:
freshly grated whole nutmeg or ground nutmeg
walnut pieces, toasted
maple syrup for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat a griddle or large skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add milk, squash, sorghum and canola oil and mix to combine.
  2. Working in batches, pour around ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle or into the skillet to create pancakes, keeping them evenly spaced apart. Cook until bubbles start to form on one side and the bottoms turn golden brown. Flip to cook the other side and repeat until you have 18 to 20 pancakes.
  3. If desired, sprinkle pancakes with a dash of nutmeg and top with walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Servings: 9 to 10

Fall Harvest Overnight Oats

I enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast every morning, but busy mornings leave me with little time for food prep. Overnight oats are one of my favorite go-to meals for hurried weekdays. They are almost effortless to assemble the night before and in the morning you have a delicious breakfast just waiting for you to open and enjoy. Preparing this recipe in a mason jar makes it a great portable breakfast option.

Pureed butternut squash is a fresh alternative to cooking with canned pumpkin, and it is extremely easy to make. After roasting the squash, simply puree in a food processor. If you have extra on hand it freezes well for future use, saving even more time when making these nutritious Fall Harvest Overnight Oats.

Ingredients:
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup pureed butternut squash
½ cup skim milk or non-dairy milk of choice
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt of choice
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. In a pint-sized mason jar, add all ingredients and gently stir to combine. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy as a cold cereal for breakfast in the morning.

Servings: 1

Butternut Squash Grilled Pizza with Blue Cheese and Bacon

I am one of those pumpkin-crazed people who embraces all things, from lattes to ravioli and lip balm to candles. Fall squash is also one of my favorite things to cook with, and I particularly love sweet and creamy butternut squash, which is the star of my grilled pizza. A touch of maple syrup enhances the sweetness of mashed butternut squash, which is smothered on top of the crust and topped with sharp blue cheese, crispy bacon and toasted pecans. Cooler fall evenings are perfect for firing up the grill and enjoying dinner on the patio with your favorite beverage. Round out the meal with a fall salad, like spinach with apples or roasted beets.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a small baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Add maple syrup and puree until velvety smooth, without any lumps.
  3. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill and place on a workable surface.
  5. Spread a thick layer of butternut squash on top of the cooked side of the crust. Top with mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon and pecans. Return pizza to the grill and continue cooking for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and light grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove from the grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Servings: 4

Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash Sauce

This velvety, butternut squash sauce is nutritious with a taste of decadence. Enjoy this guilt-free, creamy sauce topped with a little sausage or substitute toasted pecans for a vegetarian meal. Roasting the squash in advance makes this a quick meal to throw together for family or friends. When I have a lot of butternut squash in my CSA share, I like to roast up several batches to freeze for later use. Simply follow step one below and scoop the inside flesh from the squash. Store squash in zip-top bags and freeze until ready for use. Defrost squash in the refrigerator the day before preparing this recipe and you’ll have a homemade meal with farm-fresh ingredients on your table in less than 15 minutes.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter
8 ounces any short whole grain pasta noodle, cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup skim or low-fat milk
½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ pound mild ground sausage
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant, and combine with squash. Set skillet aside for later use.
  3. Add milk to food processor or blender and puree to create a smooth and creamy consistency. Pour butternut squash sauce into a medium sauce pan and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally and careful not to boil. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crumbly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the fat and set aside.
  5. Divide pasta on four plates and cover with equal amounts of sauce. Top with sausage and Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4

Winter Vegetable Tacos

These vegetarian tacos, featuring winter squash, are comfort food you can feel good about devouring. I use butternut squash, but any winter squash would work well paired with Tex-Mex spices and heart-healthy beans. Enjoy as a meal or serve as tapas for your next gathering. Leftovers are excellent the next day or could be transformed into a delicious salad served over your favorite leafy greens with a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Taco Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1(14.5 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro
12 soft corn tortilla shells

Topping Ingredients:
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash cubes on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add chili powder, cumin and salt and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, make smoky cream sauce by combining sour cream and yogurt in a small mixing bowl. Add smoked paprika and garlic, stirring until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Add beans to roasting pan with squash and toss to combine. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes, until beans are heated. Drizzle the juice of one lime and sprinkle cilantro over squash and bean mixture.
  4. Warm a couple of taco shells at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Fill corn tortillas with an equal amount of squash and bean mixture and top with smokey cream sauce, avocado and cotija cheese.

Servings: 6

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Soup

Mushrooms, butternut squash and thyme were made to be eaten together and this winter soup captures their earthy flavors in every velvety bite. You can warm up with this bowl of soup on a cold day by the fire while reading a good book.

I call for one large butternut squash below, but you will actually only need half of the squash. I like to bake more than I need and reserve the rest for later use. You can also freeze the other half, after scooping out the flesh, and use it to make a quick version of this soup the next time around.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
8 ounces whole white mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
Sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium-sized baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender and lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Place mushroom mixture in a blender or food processor. Add two cups of vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to a large stock pot.
  4. Scoop flesh of butternut squash and puree in blender or food processor with remaining vegetable broth.
  5. Add squash mixture to stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Servings: 4

 

Butternut Squash Chicken Chili

Nothing says fall like a bowl of chili, especially one with seasonal squash. Fresh pumpkin or acorn squash would also work well in this recipe. In less than 30 minutes, you can serve a warm bowl of comfort food to your family. Leftovers taste just as good, if not better. If you do not eat all the leftovers, this meal freezes well in a tightly sealed container or zip-top bag.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 (15.5 ounce) cans low-sodium Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce, plus more for serving
1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges
cilantro, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Break up chicken with a spatula and cook until it begins to brown, about five minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, beans, chicken broth and Sriracha hot chili sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Ladle chili into six bowls and squeeze a lime wedge over each serving. Top with cilantro, cojita cheese and additional Sriracha hot chili sauce if desired.

Servings: 6